For some reason, you can’t work up the courage to do something with enthusiasm.
You feel stuck in a rut and you don’t know why.
It has happened to me and, frankly, to every adult I know, though many won’t admit it; thinking it is a sign of weakness.
It can be a source of strength and new inspiration as long as we correctly interpret its “message”.
Let me speak from my experience with a common creative illness, “writer’s block.”
This is what I call, “stuck”.
And what’s interesting is that it doesn’t just affect writers, it affects all “creative” types, including actors who won’t audition, painters who won’t pick up their brushes, and sculptors who don’t dare touch another bit of clay. .
But all human beings are creative, whether they’re cooking something new or driving to the airport in a new way. So Stuckness is a creative block, of any kind.
When I get writer’s block, it’s usually symptomatic of other things:
(1) I don’t feel appreciated; telling myself that no one likes my stuff.
(2) I’m whispering in my mind that I’ve lost it, whatever magic it was that made my work “good”.
(3) I anticipate rejection from editors and publishers.
(4) I am predicting that my work will not sell; that it will be a commercial failure.
(5) I tell myself that I should be doing something more productive.
(6) I feel like I’m just redoing old stuff or stuck in a single writing style that limits me.
(7) What I am doing feels like WORK, and nothing more than; it is joyless.
(8) I don’t like my own writing; it reads terribly to me.
If you synthesize this entire list, it boils down to just a few things.
I am predicting and expecting failure. And I am judging and expecting others to judge my work negatively.
In light of these concerns, I am of course going to stop production.
The key is to do the activity again, whatever it is, simply for the joy of doing it, because it’s fun, because it’s a way to get lost and find yourself at the same time.
Once you do this, instantly, you will be unstuck.